News

The Energy Crisis Comes Home: Rising Energy Prices Challenge The Recovery

There’s an energy crisis around the globe. The impact of changes to both raw oil supply, refinement facilities, and delivery of gas, natural gas, and oil have inched energy prices upwards around the country and the globe.

What is different about this energy crisis is that it comes at a time when raw material shortages are hampering the transition to renewable energy projects. Even as entire industries rush to adapt wind, solar, geothermal, and energy storage technology to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, materials like nickel, lithium, and silver have meant that even those willing to invest are hamstrung by supply.

Fuel Prices and Diesel Fuel Prices: The Rise Started with a Fall

In the spring of 2020, oil prices plummeted as the world economy can to an abrupt halt. Supply so drastically outpaced demand that companies were paying to store it, leading to a brief period where some oil stocks were trading at a deficit.

In response, production came to a halt, though industry experts at the time were already forecasting a costly lag as demand increased along with broader economic recovery. The result: the prices spikes and shortage we’re experiencing today.

For example, gas prices in the US have increased by 55% in a year, now up to a national average price of $3.36, according to AAA.

Natural Gas Future Prices are on the Rise

Natural gas prices, an essential energy source as the nation moves toward the winter months, have more than doubled. In September of 2020, natural gas prices sat at $1.92 per cubic foot. Fast forward 12 months, and the price has reached $5.16.

Industry experts believe natural gas prices will hit $5.80/MMBtu in the final months of 2021, possibly peaking in Q1 of 2022 at roughly $5.90. As supply catches up, that price should settle closer to the pre-pandemic price of $4.01.

EV and Renewable Energy Is Ready, But Supply Is Slowing Things Up

These price spikes have rightly encouraged many world leaders and businesses to move more aggressively in the transition to renewable energy. Supply chain issues have plagued what would otherwise have been an ideal time for investment in adopting renewable energy and expanded offerings for electric vehicles.

Supply chain issues for raw materials like nickel and aluminum have put the brakes on that move, however. The nickel and lithium required for the lithium-ion batteries that are integral to effective energy storage are in short supply. Combined with the well-publicized microchip shortage, and EVs are especially restricted from growth in the short term.

Long-Term Energy Forecast Remains Unchanged

Despite the supply chain issues, experts believe that the current energy crisis is even more proof of how costly relying on fossil fuels can be for industry, especially as natural disasters made more impactful by climate change wreak havoc on production and refining crude.

The bottom line is the bottom line: renewable energy is less expensive and more reliable than fossil fuels, and the transition to sustainable energy will accelerate alongside supply chain improvements and both public and private investment.

Learn More with Keen Technical Solutions

Adapt to new energy challenges in your industry by investing in energy efficiency and renewables. From saving tens of thousands per year in facility upgrades to creating your own microgrid, Keen Technical Solutions combing expert consultation and experienced skilled workers to make the incremental changes that will set your business up for a bright future. Contact us today to get started!

Graphic and logo over a mountain bike trail with drumset in woods.

Make It Stick with Keen Technical Solutions and the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge

This year, Make It Stick is a bigger party than ever before. For nearly a decade now, Keen Technical Solutions has trucked in drums, speakers, and a party atmosphere to the top of one of the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge toughest climbs. While Make It Stick may not be Alpe d’Huez, it comes just as the legs start to tire and big things start to happen in the fight for a top spot for both age group racers and the pros.

Make It Stick…and Win!

We’re partnering with the Iceman crew to make it count when you Make It Stick. This year, we’ll find the fastest amateur Strava time for the segment and reward the top men’s and women’s time with some cool prizes. Make sure you post your ride by Sunday, November 7, and if you have the fastest ascent of Make It Stick, you could win:

  • A coupon for Bell’s Iceman Cometh merchandise
  • KEEN logo gear
  • And a free entry for the 2022 event

Current Top Times

That’s a lot of motivation, but you’re going to need it to be in the mix. At the moment, the top time is a tie between Pro class rider Jorden Wakeley and 2019 champ Alexey Vermeulen, with 47 seconds. It’s worth noting that the fastest time on an actual race day comes from Spencer Paxson all the way back in 2016. That’s the same year the fastest women’s time was set by Kaitlyn Vanias, when she posted a 1:03, three seconds faster than Chloe Woodrufff on the day.

About Keen Technical Solutions

Our company is dedicated to finding energy efficiency solutions that will save businesses money and save the planet, too. We work in HVAC, insulation, sustainable development, energy-efficient cultivation, and any industry to build more sustainable practices and facilities. From cannabis cultivation to industrial microgrids, as well as simply sourcing efficient light fixtures, we provide energy solutions that make a difference.

Learn more about Keen Technical Solutions and contact us today to speak with an expert in your industry.

Exterior multi colored painted wall with HVAC vents

Commercial HVAC Services

Commercial HVAC Services

Breathe Safely with Commerical HVAC Service

Commercial heating and cooling are a vital part of keeping your business running smoothly. Keep your team comfortable and your work environment productive with effect commercial HVAC installation, repair, and replacement. Commercial HVAC services that you can count out take the stress out of seasonal changes in heating and cooling functions.

Keen Technical Solutions also provides businesses with regular HVAC maintenance to prevent costly breakdowns that require expensive, time-consuming repairs.

Schedule a conversation with Keen or call us today at (231) 421-3175.

Exterior multi colored painted wall with HVAC vents

Commercial HVAC maintenance and repairs take a different skill set and experience. We’ve worked with some of the most modern and technologically advanced commercial HVAC systems around. Our experience in a number of industries, from hospitality to industrial to refrigeration, puts our team in a position to serve any customers. Count on Keen to handle your maintenance needs and your emergency HVAC repairs.

Keen Technical Solutions offers comprehensive commercial heating, ventilation, and air condition services, including:

  • Commercial AC repair
  • Commercial furnace repair
  • Commercial AC replacement
  • Commercial furnace replacement

HVAC You Can Count On

Keen Technical Solutions support local businesses with regular, scheduled maintenance as well as emergency HVAC repairs 24/7. We’ll work with you to source, transport, install, and maintain your furnace, air conditioning unit, and adjust your ventilation system to optimize airflow and save you money.

HVAC Energy Efficiency

Too many businesses don’t think about HVAC as an opportunity to lower energy costs. Our experienced technicians build energy efficiency improvements into every repair and can help business owners make informed decisions about purchasing energy-efficient HVAC equipment and systems to lower long-term energy expenses and reduce their carbon footprint. We can help you identify the best energy-efficient HVAC system for your facility and get it installed right.

Learn more about Keen Technical Solutions commercial HVAC systems, as well as other energy-efficient solutions to help you meet your sustainability goals.

Take the opportunity to schedule a conversation and learn more about how Keen Technical Solutions is saving the world and saving businesses money.

Hand on door handle opening to a hotel room

Energy Efficiency in Hotels: An Opportunity To Save

The hospitality industry faces many energy challenges. Energy conservation affects the bottom line of any business, but in a field that requires heavily on a sterling reputation, green initiatives can often be the decisive factor for guests choosing where to stay or where to host their next event or conference.

Today, travelers are informed and educated on the environmental efforts of the business they patronize. In such a competitive industry, making your sustainability efforts known is an extension of the efforts you make to save money and save energy. In many ways, sharing your environmental focus can help to push the whole industry forwards.

Energy Saving Opportunities in Hospitality

Energy efficiency in hotels comes down to three big opportunities:

  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
  • Hot water
  • Lighting

Overall, energy efficiency initiatives and updates in older, less efficient facilities can save substantial amounts of energy and associated costs. A comprehensive hospitality energy audit forecasts a 30-50% overall energy reduction, with HVAC and hot water expected to save 20% per year and lighting roughly 30%.

As hotels look to measure the benefits, they can get granular. By saving energy, hotels can save make an additional $1.35 on their daily room rate when they make these energy investments.

Hotel Energy Assessment

To get started, Keen Technical Solutions begins a hospitality energy assessment with a thorough in-person audit of the facility. This can take hours or days to complete, analyzing the entire property to look for energy-saving opportunities.

Energy Billing and Data Collection

Numbers don’t lie. By looking at several years’ worth of energy bills and compiling the data, we can create a holistic view of energy use and experience annually, seasonally, and how each additional guest contributes to the total. We’ll look at how those three main energy segments contribute to energy costs and create a list of recommendations.

Hotel Energy Efficiency Upgrades

We don’t just tell you what you should do. Our team includes a full team of technicians to make the changes necessary to meet your company’s green initiative. From upgrading lighting fixtures room by room or implementing a Combined Heat and Power (CHP), we implement all of the solutions we recommend to our own exacting standards.

Our micro CHP installation with A.O. Smith and the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa was one of our most successful projects and just one example of focusing on providing solutions for any industry to make strides toward a more sustainable future.

Ready to learn how Keen Technical Solutions can make an impact on your hospitality business? Let’s talk.

cold storage fruits covered in a light frost

Chill Out: Cold Storage Energy Efficiency

Commercial Cold Storage Energy Efficiency

Commercial refrigeration is a vital component of feeding a nation. Energy efficiency plays a role in keeping these cold storage facilities viable and keeping the costs of food affordable for everyone. There are many factors that influence cold storage operating expenses and the most innovative companies understand how they can lower expenses and lower emissions, too. 

Cold storage is big business. As an industry, it is valued at over $107 billion annually and is expected to grow by over 13% by 2028. As more fresh produce, meat, and dairy products are produced, those goods need to be kept at strict temperatures to meet federal and state health guidelines.

Cold Storage Energy Efficiency Variables

When we work with cold storage facilities, we often start with the basics. Not only does it help us learn more about the details of a facility, but it also helps the business managers take a renewed look at their business. 

Some of the core elements of cold storage include:

Size – How large of a space will you need to cool, insulate, and control? 

Location – How will your controlled environment interact with other parts of your facility? The location of the refrigerated portion of your business can be more or less efficient based on where it is in your building. 

Insulation – What external factors, such as outdoor heat and climate, access points, or other considerations might affect how the facility is insulated? We analyze key points where energy is lost or heat plays a role in our cooling efforts. 

Regulation – Local, state, and federal bodies all have different standards for temperatures, efficiency, and other operating guidelines for cold storage facilities. Researching and monitoring ensure that your business meets or exceeds these benchmarks. 

Energy Efficient Commercial Refrigeration

Whether you operate an industrial cold storage facility or are looking to invest in a walk-in freezer for foodservice applications, there are several resources to help select the right freezers, compressors, and additional insulation. One excellent resource is energy.gov, with a focus on industrial freezers and best practices

Energy Savings Estimates

Selecting the most efficient freezers and systems can save the planet and save money over the course of the machine’s lifespan. By reducing energy expenses, facilities can invest in other initiatives to become more competitive and more agile. Having more liquid capital thanks to lower operating costs allows for more flexibility in other areas of the facility, eventually allowing for greater investment in processing equipment or other technologies. 

Clover Leaf Cold Storage Case Study

One of our most exciting and successful projects took place at Clover Lead Cold Storage. We were able to exceed our initial estimates in terms of both energy and cost savings to help prepare the plant for a more efficient energy future 

Keen Technical Solutions Consultation

Want to learn more about what Keen Technical Solutions can do for your cold storage facility? Contact us today for a free consultation and take control of your energy future!

Cannabis Processing Trends

Cannabis processing can be a challenging game. For cannabis processing facilities willing to invest, plan ahead, and stay current with the latest technologies and opportunities, however, there is room for exciting growth. Changes in techniques and modern equipment can quickly leave even forward-thinking companies behind, which makes staying up-to-date a vital part of maintaining a competitive edge. Continue reading “Cannabis Processing Trends”